For both adults and children alike, making friends comes more easily to some than it does to others. Despite this, social skills can be practiced and developed over time so if you’re worrying that your child shies away in social scenarios or can’t seem to grasp the art of making friends, there are things you can do to help. An international school in Cambridge has shared their tips to help your child with their social skills.
Use your network
Like any other skill, social skills improve with practice. Exposing your child to different social settings and introducing them to other children will allow them to feel more comfortable dealing with these situations. Arrange play dates with friends or family who have children of a similar age, the earlier you do this the more your child will benefit as your child will learn to feel at ease in the company of people outside their immediate family.
Get them involved
Getting your child involved in a team or club which sparks their interest will help them build friendships with like-minded children. Whether your child is into sport, music or art there is likely to be a group in your local area to cater for them. Having an interest in common is a perfect ice breaker and will instantly put your child more at ease. This also links into the previous point as exposure and practice is key to building confidence in social settings.
Empathy is Key
The ability to empathise with others strengthens our social connections and provides the foundation for cultivating lasting friendships. Talk to your child about what it means to be empathetic and try using role play as a way of practising the appropriate reaction to different scenarios. Discuss events they may encounter such as seeing another child being picked on or witnessing someone falling and hurting themselves. Have your child reflect upon how they would feel if it were them in that situation, by reflecting on their own thought and emotions they will be able to better understand the feelings of other people.
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